Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I said, 'BRRR (clap, clap) it's cold in here!' Bring it on, Winter! (Staying warm, yo!)

That tittle was a huge mistake. I'm pretty sure that chant will be stuck in my head for the next week. Did anyone else see Bring it On? No? Just me, then.
Anyway... here in Michigan it's starting to get pretty stinking cold. Actually, on Sunday it was almost 70 degrees, but then Monday happened and there was snow. Pretty bizarre, right? That's how we roll in Michigan. Predictable weather is for suckers.
I generally don't mind Michigan until the cold weather approaches (and then refuses to leave). When I see that thermometer start to dip my brain literally explodes with raging and nonsense about how only fools could live in this ridiculous state and my mind wonders what my parents were thinking by raising children in this awful frozen tundra.
A little dramatic?
I don't care. There are no "snow days" for adults and white-knuckling it home in blizzards doesn't speak to me. *Sometimes* Michigan throws us a bone (oh if only EVERY winter were as mild and sweet as last winter!), but usually it's cold. Really cold. I don't think too many people prefer or enjoy being chilly (though there are some and they live here, continuing to say things like, "ahhh... Pure Michigan!" every time it snows...), but I dislike it. I especially dislike it because I have Raynaud's Phenomenon. Holla at me if you're stricken with it too! It's pretty necessary for me to stay warm (at home where I refuse to use a lot of heat), but I also like to look nice (when I'm out in public). So let's talk about how to do that, shall we?
Because maybe you don't like being cold either :) But if you do, no judgement. I just really like to rag on Michigan... but deep down I love it here. Kind of. Not really.
1. Layers. We hear it all the time, right? But it's true! Layers rock. I'm wearing four shirts right now, but you'd never know. The trick is having various thickness in the materials as well as looseness of clothing. Lightweight (even tissue material) t-shirts add a lot of warmth when worn underneath a sweater without adding bulk. They're especially helpful for making itchy wool sweaters more appealing. When layering, you want tighter pieces underneath, letting your garments get looser as you layer them. I buy things in various sizes just to make layering easier. For example, right now I'm wearing a 1) tight tank top 2) looser tank top 3) thermal long sleeve 4) PINK hoodie. And it doesn't look bulky at all. Let's talk about more ways to layer...
a) Tailored garments. If you're going to layer, make sure things are tailored. The fact that my hoodie is cut to be slim and shaped for a woman's body keeps it from looking frumpy or bulky. You can skimp on this a little bit with the loose, over-sized tunic sweaters (which provide TONS of room for layers underneath!).
b) Pants + tights. Seriously... underneath all of your dress pants, please wear a nice, thick pair of tights. I'm talking more than opaque. Get some really thick + warm tights like the ones below. You will feel so much better. If you're wearing lounge pants at home, put a pair of leggings underneath. If you have boot cut dress pants (or leggings/lounge pants at home), wear some tight leg warmers underneath as well.
c) Outerwear. Fleece jacket underneath the coat? Why, yes please! Cheap Target gloves fit beautifully underneath mittens or thicker gloves. A hat is a great addition underneath a hood (and use that hood!).
THERMALS- these are my favorites. They're from Victoria's Secret and are 2/$40. They're warm, but super cute. If you want to layer them underneath, order your regular size. If you want to wear them over, order up a size or two.
TIGHTS- These are called "Sweater tights" ... need I say more?
Bottom line with layering? When you get dressed in the morning, as yourself if there is anything else you can wear underneath, haha!
2) Boots. Oh yes. Even when it's 95 degrees I still rock boots. I could live in boots. They're essential for winter, though, because they cover up more leg area (warmth) and they also allow for crazy amounts of socks. I wear two pairs of socks in the winter. Minimum. The key here again is layering. Start with the thin bobby-style socks. Then move to your regular standard sock. Top it off with the hardcore wool versions, or the fluffy ones that everyone gives me for Christmas and I love so much. They're especially stretchy and will go over anything. Boots + socks are a match made in a very warm part of heaven.
3) Outerwear. I polled friends + family recently about the best sort of coat. I told them that maybe it's coming of age, or maybe it has something to do with *finally* accepting that we live in Michigan... but I was ready for a really warm coat. I got back the same answer over and over again... a longer length, down-filled coat with a hood. Thankfully those are pretty popular this season with tons of super cute versions available! The Michael Kor's one below is from Macy's and is on sale currently for $139.99. Remember that not all puffers are created equally. I don't have too much faith in the ones that are too thin to even have any feathers inside!
I hit it a little bit above, but use a hat + your hood for some serious warmth. Wrap your scarf over your mouth and nose as well as your neck. Infinity scarves are awesome because they're so warm and wrap-able without any fuss or bulk. They stay on and won't fall off! Remember the stat about how much of your body heat escapes from your head? Good, because I don't. It's a lot- so try to keep that heat contained. Make sure the outermost layer of glove-age is weather proof. If your hands (or feet!) get wet, all is lost. The battle is over. Wear boots to and from your destination. Boots are tricky, but I've found that if I layer crazy amounts of socks underneath my wellies they work well to keep the water out without being too cold. If you don't sock it up, the rubber transfers the cold and freezes your feet out.
4) Hand warmers. I love these. I put them in my shoes, slippers, gloves, pockets, back pockets... anywhere. The best part is you can make them using THIS DIY (image from thefrisky.com). Great present to give or receive!
5) Movement. Do you know what I do when I get cold? 50-100 jumping jacks. They will heat you up AND help you get some exercise in. Take a brisk walk, do what you need to do... but if you start to get cold, movement can help get you warmed up again.
6) Warm food + drink. Coffee, cocoa, tea, soup, chili, oatmeal... these will help you stay warm. Conversely, cold things in your body are going to make the situation worse. This seems like common sense to me, but who knows? My husband is always trying to drink iced coffee in the winter...
7) Snuggling. Just kidding. But really. Snuggle. haha :)
8) Fabric. Wool, silk, flannel and fleece. Those bad boys will keep you toasty. Read more about them HERE, and definitely add them to your repertoire for layering as well as blanket purchases!
Warm showers, hot fires... these things are all wonderful. I know there are zillions of great ways to stay warm, and these are just some easy things I do. What do you do? You should probably share your tips and then hopefully we'll all stay a little warmer this winter. That's all from me today. All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!


  1. I have Raynaud's as well! I live in finger-less gloves and wool socks. I swear, as soon as I can convince hubs, we are moving to Louisiana :)

    1. The words, 'wool socks' *literally* bring joy to my heart. They are so incredible. Annnd I'm with you. I've got about 5 years left before this weather is TOO cold for Raynauds!

  2. So. How can I rock the leggings + boots + dress look in the winter without freezing? Leggings alone just don't cut it for me!

    1. Challenge accepted, Sarah! Wear a tight, long sleeved tee underneath the dress (scoop neckline so that it doesn't show), or you could also wear a button down depending on the neckline/style of the dress. Tuck the shirt into a pair of control top thick tights. The control top will keep the silhouette of the dress clean, they'll also be easier to wear underneath your (stretchy!) leggings. Lastly, 2-3 pairs of socks under those boots AND bootsocks OR legwarmers :) :)

    2. (in case you're worried about comfort- I have many a time worn tights under leggings and it really isn't a problem- also if you have a nice, long coat that hits at the knees, you'll have minimal leg exposure between the boots, legwarmers/bootsocks and coat!)

    3. Oh yay! I will definitely be trying this - thanks!!


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